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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations


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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

Lots of people might have wanted to sleep with him, but that doesn't the people he coerced or threatened in a quid pro quo relationship wanted to sleep with him. (If that is indeed what happened -- right now the details of the case and allegations are not very clear.) I also don't see what his physical appearance has to do with anything. Ted Bundy was a good-looking guy. 

Agree completely, canbelto. I think we're wading into dangerous waters to focus on his physical appearance or how sexually attractive he may have been. If we were objectifying  a woman in this way, there would be loud protest.

 

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The cases of alleged physical assault and coercion being discussed in this case and the others made public in recent weeks are over 25 years old, which does not lessen the yuck factor.  How do we create an environment where young people can feel safe and confident enough to stand up for themselves before decades have gone by.  As a child you're taught to be on guard around strangers not those you come into contact with during your regular daily activities (i.e. relatives, clergy, teachers, coaches, doctors).  In an ideal world we would be able to identify and oust the predators before they reach the overripe dirty old goat stage of their lives.

 

 

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Side note- Appearance is huge in ballet.  Sex put aside, it's no secret that the more attractive people rise through the ranks quicker (of course because of their talent and work ethic as well).  The principal's at NYCB are all very attractice, which is why many of them also get modeling gigs on the side.  I guess my point is that if you have a straight male as an AD, your sex appeal in his eyes could affect your career, simply because he's human and a man, even if he's not saying or doing anything innapropriate.  One of the reasons I'd like to see a female AD.  

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48 minutes ago, vagansmom said:

When I was in 8th. grade, a handsome 26 year old acquaintance whom many women (but not me-I was a kid and he was old) wanted to sleep with, hid in the woods near my house and sprang out from behind a tree as I was walking by, pinning me against it as he violently sexually assaulted me. The final part of the act itself wasn't completed because two people's voices were heard nearby, so he ran away. I pulled my pants back up, straightened myself best I could, and ran home before the people came in view. I showered and bathed repeatedly that day.

I never told anyone about this until a couple years ago; I'm in my 60's. Why not? All I can come up with is that as a female teen, I unconsciously knew I was powerless and it was better to not turn my life into an uproar.  I've spoken to many women in the last two years about it and they've shared similar stories. I won't go into how that incident shaped the rest of my life except to say that it's had a powerful effect.

So when people disparage the women and men who kept abuse silent, I remember my own silence for decades and know that doesn't mean the assault or harrassment never took place. We have arrived at a crisis point in time: I hope that NOW is the first time in the USA's history that justice stands the chance of being served in these matters. Whether it actually will or not remains to be seen. When I read the automatic assumptions that assault/harrassment  didn't take place and that if it were true, the person would have said something right away, I know that my hope is on shaky ground.

This is all frightening revealing about the public understanding (misunderstanding) of victims and how they will act. 

THANK YOU Vagansmom !!!! You are one of the BRAVE ONES! And we are NOT going back.  

Thank you Helene: This is NOT just sexual harrassment. It is assault too. 

Thank you to Darcie Kistler who did something , dropped the charges and then had NYCB Board Chair Wolff (sp?) say it was a "personal matter," casting her as an "emotional" female.

Thank you to Kelly Boal who actually reports being shaken and choked and being screamed at. (and who's account was in part corroborated by another dancer who was called recently to confirm.)  

Thank you to Gelsely Kirkland who honestly wrote about this in her book. 

Thank you to the anonymous letter writer who broke this.

Thank you to the journalists. . .doing REAL journalism and investigating. 

Now, I will ask those of you who are thinking "Why didn't they report it? Why are they just coming forward? Aren't they embellishing this for effect? Pretty convenient to lynch prominent white men in the #metoo era." 

I have had real conversations in my household with my husband who has expressed a fear that, as an academic, he will now have a target on his back and will need to "defend" himself against unfounded allegations.  But he already has a series of practices that protects him.  There is also due process in his work place.  And, he doesn't have affairs with other people. Also, were some women to believe that he was sexually harassing her, she would need to take the step of telling him or working with personnel to tell him to stop whatever he is doing.  And he would stop. (Yes, there are indeed crazy women out there. I know). A harassment case cannot be built on office gossip, one comment,  one off color joke, or the random inappropriate drunken flirt at the office party.  But you can't lay your hands on other people (this is true outside of harassment or assault).

If you are a man imagine yourself as a 15-25 year old perhaps someone who is on the shorter and smaller side who is assaulted by his boss. What would you do? You are from a working class family.  They don't have money to make your rent if you lose your job.  What would you do?  Now imagine that your are raped, or as a minor engage in sex with another man. How would you respond? You would respond exactly as these women did (the Catholic priest scandal has illustrated this nicely.) You would be confused, think you were to blame, feel humiliated, be deeply ashamed, feel powerless, be silent, and not report it. 

These patterns in the behavior of these women are not "female" responses.  They are HUMAN responses. 

And NYCB  does not have to decide upon any charges at all.  All they have to do is decide if they want to further employ Martins.  They could have many other reasons for not doing so.  

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As fondoffouttes pointed out earlier, neither the Post nor the Times has come up with any concrete, specific examples of  sexual abuse or harassment,.   They may do so in future. They haven't yet.

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Now, I will ask those of you who are thinking "Why didn't they report it? Why are they just coming forward? Aren't they embellishing this for effect? Pretty convenient to lynch prominent white men in the #metoo era.

Who said anyone here is thinking this???

 

 

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41 minutes ago, dirac said:

As fondoffouttes pointed out earlier, neither the Post nor the Times has come up with any concrete, specific examples of  sexual abuse or harassment,.   They may do so in future. They haven't yet.

I'm puzzled as to why you're returning to this point. The Post has come up with two very specific instance of harassment – Boal accusing Martins of shaking and choking her in the workplace and the earlier charges from his ex-wive of violence. If your point is that it's not clear this harassment was sexual in nature, than I guess I agree with you; but in that case, the problem is that the title of this thread should be "Peter Martins Sexual Harassment and Violence Allegations." It doesn't mean that the complaints are irrelevant. It's completely unacceptable for someone to harm their employees in any way. It would be unacceptable for anyone - boss or not - to act in that way. The fact that it's the AD makes it even more of a problem because he has control over these dancers lives in ways that make it difficult for them to report such violence. 

As for the rumors of him sleeping with dancers (and the Post is clear that these are rumors), to me that crosses over into harassment regardless of whether there was an explicit quid pro quo about roles. When a workplace superior makes sexual advances to their subordinate, it's very difficult for that subordinate to turn them down without fear of reprisal. The situation is coercive whether or not the person making the advance has manipulation as their intent. That's why many organizations, including NYCB since 2010, make rules against supervisors having any kind of romantic or sexual relationship with subordinates.

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2 hours ago, balletforme said:

Thank you to Darcie Kistler who did something , dropped the charges and then had NYCB Board Chair Wolff (sp?) say it was a "personal matter," casting her as an "emotional" female.

Kistler did two things: first she called the police and filed charges, and then she dropped them.  (That was legal in those times; now, it is not always legal to allow someone to drop charges: they can only be dropped by people in the legal system.) 

Had she not dropped charges, NYCB Board Chair Wolff would not have had the opportunity to continue to say this was a "personal matter," and would not impact Martins' employment, which, since there was no indictment or conviction, is the context in which the statement was said.  Edited to add:  Thankfully, today, the Board doesn't have the luxury of sweeping it under the rug.

 While she had her reasons for dropping the charges, and at the time it was legal for her to do so, I think that understanding, not applause, is in order.

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1 hour ago, Swanilda8 said:

The Post has come up with two very specific instance of harassment – Boal accusing Martins of shaking and choking her in the workplace and the earlier charges from his ex-wive of violence.

We're now in "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" territory, and here, I'm not sure there's a rule or stylebook entry for how to make this clear.

There are two allegations that are being investigated:  1. sexual abuse and harassment and 2. physical abuse and harassment.  The anonymous letter accuses Martins of the former, and, as dirac points out, so far, there has been no proof of sexual abuse and harassment reported in any of these articles.  Kelly Boal Cass described physical abuse and harassment by his hands.  Both are being investigated at SAB and NYCB.

---------

As an FYI, the "Seattle Times" printed Sarah Kaufman's article in WaPo: it is not another article about the situation.

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NYCB just announced its interim leadership team:

"The group overseeing the artistic management of City Ballet will be led by Jonathan Stafford, a ballet master and former principal dancer with the company. Joining him will be Justin Peck, City Ballet’s resident choreographer and soloist, along with Craig Hall and Rebecca Krohn, both ballet masters."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/09/arts/dance/team-to-lead-city-ballet-during-martins-sexual-harassment-probe.html

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2 minutes ago, California said:

NYCB just announced its interim leadership team:

"The group overseeing the artistic management of City Ballet will be led by Jonathan Stafford, a ballet master and former principal dancer with the company. Joining him will be Justin Peck, City Ballet’s resident choreographer and soloist, along with Craig Hall and Rebecca Krohn, both ballet masters."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/09/arts/dance/team-to-lead-city-ballet-during-martins-sexual-harassment-probe.html

Group effort, I like it.

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1 hour ago, California said:

NYCB just announced its interim leadership team:

"The group overseeing the artistic management of City Ballet will be led by Jonathan Stafford, a ballet master and former principal dancer with the company. Joining him will be Justin Peck, City Ballet’s resident choreographer and soloist, along with Craig Hall and Rebecca Krohn, both ballet masters."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/09/arts/dance/team-to-lead-city-ballet-during-martins-sexual-harassment-probe.html

Now I can finally ask the question, how does this affect Brittany Pollack/Jonathan Stafford marriage?  

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Just now, FITTB85 said:

Now I can finally ask the question, how does this affect Brittany Pollack/Jonathan Stafford marriage?  

Brittany Pollack is taking a leave of absence soon to do Carousel on B'way. So in the short term ... not much.

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If Martins does not return, then this will likely factor into whether there is an offer to him, and, if offered, whether to accept it.  

As long as Martins' return is a possibility, I wouldn't expect major changes, particularly if they want to work for him again.

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5 hours ago, nanushka said:

And there are plenty of conventionally unattractive people who find at times that others want to sleep with them, for any of a variety of reasons. It's really neither here nor there, as far as I can tell, whether a particular alleged perpetrator is attractive or unattractive. That tells us nothing about the likelihood, plausibility, or verifiability of a specific alleged incident.

Considering some of the people who are currently under investigation for sexual harassment/assault, looks don't have much to do with it.  Like rape, it isn't about sex so much as it is about power.

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6 hours ago, vagansmom said:

When I was in 8th. grade, a handsome 26 year old acquaintance whom many women (but not me-I was a kid and he was old) wanted to sleep with, hid in the woods near my house and sprang out from behind a tree as I was walking by, pinning me against it as he violently sexually assaulted me. The final part of the act itself wasn't completed because two people's voices were heard nearby, so he ran away. I pulled my pants back up, straightened myself best I could, and ran home before the people came in view. I showered and bathed repeatedly that day.

I never told anyone about this until a couple years ago; I'm in my 60's. Why not? All I can come up with is that as a female teen, I unconsciously knew I was powerless and it was better to not turn my life into an uproar.  I've spoken to many women in the last two years about it and they've shared similar stories. I won't go into how that incident shaped the rest of my life except to say that it's had a powerful effect.

So when people disparage the women and men who kept abuse silent, I remember my own silence for decades and know that doesn't mean the assault or harrassment never took place. We have arrived at a crisis point in time: I hope that NOW is the first time in the USA's history that justice stands the chance of being served in these matters. Whether it actually will or not remains to be seen. When I read the automatic assumptions that assault/harrassment  didn't take place and that if it were true, the person would have said something right away, I know that my hope is on shaky ground.

My dear -- I can only imagine how this has affected your life for all these years.  We forget sometimes, as we live our daily lives and pursue our varied interests, that the people we share those interests with have full lives outside of our common concerns, and that sometimes those experiences are some of the harshest we can know.  Thank you for speaking up, here and elsewhere. 

This:

"We have arrived at a crisis point in time: I hope that NOW is the first time in the USA's history that justice stands the chance of being served in these matters." 

Absolutely!

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7 minutes ago, harpergroup said:

In re Jon Stafford - his sister Abi is still a principal with NYCB.  

The policy wasn't changed in 2010 to included children or siblings or other relationships other than spouses.

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There are two allegations that are being investigated:  1. sexual abuse and harassment and 2. physical abuse and harassment.

Let's be clear: Sexual abuse IS physical abuse. As long as we consider those two terms as separate, sexual abuse will never be taken seriously.

 

 

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Pleased to see such a respected group of people leading, but worried it may signal a final departure from Balanchine's dancers. This could be an opportunity for NYCB to reconnect to that generation, so many of which have been pushed out by Martins. If he does not make a return as AD, my biggest hope is that they install someone who can reconnect NYCB's legacy while staying true as an innovator in choreography. I am feeling this especially strongly after having seen Suzanne Farrell's company yesterday evening. What a triumph. 

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4 hours ago, Helene said:

Thankfully, today, the Board doesn't have the luxury of sweeping it under the rug.

 While she had her reasons for dropping the charges, and at the time it was legal for her to do so, I think that understanding, not applause, is in order.

I applaud her.  She was courageous.  Had she not called the police and made a report and had her husband arrested there would have been no record of his actions.

So I applaud and applaud loudly. And I leave others to their choices. 

And yes, with her 1992 police report, an account in Kirkland's book, and now Kelly Boal's account. ALONG with an anonymous letter, that both NYCB and SAB chose to act on, this moves forward. 

Hopefully sweeping away this kind of thing. 

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I am distressed by my post being so misunderstood.  I must try harder to make my point.

By no means am I suggesting that Martins gets a pass because of his looks.  But it's unlikely that every one of his romantic adventures was coercive.  Is anyone willing to make a list of those dancers  they have determined advanced their careers because they had sex with Martins?  How would they prove it?  Ballet masters have been known to favor dancers for idiosyncratic  reasons that have nothing to do with sex. 

I think the board of NYCB,  like the Met,  is being disingenuous.   If people can write anonymous letters accusing Martins now,  they could have written them twenty and thirty years ago.  (Maybe they did,  in which case the board is culpable for not taking action.)

I remember the days when some fans claimed that because of her relationship with Martins,  Heather Watts actually ran the company and got to decide the casting.  Martins is not a sympathetic figure,  but there seems to be a foregone conclusion that he is guilty.  At any rate,  John Clifford has got some nerve piling on.  In her book,  Gelsey Kirkland tells how he laughed as he groped her breasts and disparaged her body in front of the whole company.  Maybe he should be removed from his position.

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4 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

But it's unlikely that every one of his romantic adventures was coercive. 

If every relationship was consensual, that still can meet the definition of creating a hostile work environment.  When he was a Principal Dancer, that was a different story.

 

8 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Is anyone willing to make a list of those dancers  they have determined advanced their careers because they had sex with Martins?

Whether people have their own lists, posting them here is a no-go.

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5 hours ago, On Pointe said:

  Martins is not a sympathetic figure,  but there seems to be a foregone conclusion that he is guilty.  

Martins is indeed not overly sympathetic, but given what the current press reports tell us, he is entitled to a full investigation and it seems that he will get one.   As to what people say on the internets, well.......

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